Small ruminant lentiviruses (SRLV) are members of the Retroviridae family and infect goats and sheep worldwide. Detection of specific antibodies using AGID and ELISA is the most commonly used means of diagnosing SRLV infection. The most frequent molecular method for detecting the provirus genome is PCR, using peripheral blood leucocytes as target cells. Real time PCR has also recently been used. The aim of this study was to develop a real time PCR for detection of SRLV in order to improve molecular diagnostics of SRLV infections in sheep and goats.
Two new real time PCR assays using TaqMan probes for the specific detection of genotype A (MVV assay) and genoptype B (CAEV assay) SRLV strains and differentiation between them were developed and validated at both analytical and diagnostic levels following MIQE guidelines. The validation results showed that the new real time PCR is 100% specific, with a reliable limit of detection of 26 (CAEV assay) and 72 (MVV assay) plasmid DNA copies, while compared to ELISA the diagnostic sensitivity of both assays was 79% when tested with Slovenian SRLV field samples. Intra-assay and inter-assay coefficients of variation showed overall good repeatability and reproducibility of the new real time PCR assays, except for the highest dilutions.
Two new TaqMan probe based real time PCR assays for the specific detection of genotype A and B SRLV strains and differentiation between them were developed and validated. They can serve as an additional tool for confirming infection with SRLV and may also be useful for early detection of infected animals prior to seroconversion.
CAEV; Gag matrix; MVV; Real time PCR; Small ruminant lentiviruses
The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to determine the effect of feeding a commercial lacteal-derived colostrum replacer (CR) or pooled maternal colostrum (MC) on preweaning morbidity, growth and mortality in Holstein heifer calves. A total of 568 calves were randomly assigned to be fed either 3.8 L of pooled MC or two doses (200 g IgG) of a CR. Calves were monitored daily for preweaning morbidity until weaning at 60 d old. Birth and weaning weights were measured to estimate growth rates.
Calves fed CR were significantly less likely to be affected with a diarrhea event (OR = 0.58; 95% CI, 0.38 to 0.88; P value = 0.011) and had a higher rate of daily weight gain (0.051 kg/day; 95% CI, 0.03 to 0.08; P value <0.001) compared to calves fed pooled MC. Use of lacteal-derived colostrum replacer was not significantly associated with respiratory disease (OR = 1.01; 95% CI 0.67 to 1.51; P value = 0.974 ), omphalitis (OR = 0.93; 95% CI 0.06 to 14.86; P value = 0.956), or mortality (HR = 0.71; 95% CI 0.27 to 1.92; P value = 0.505) in the study calves.
The lacteal-derived CR fed at the study dose was a viable colostrum alternative in the event of poor quality pooled MC for the prevention of preweaning diarrhea and resulted in higher growth rates in comparison to calves fed pooled MC in the study herd.
Lacteal-derived colostrum replacer; Pooled maternal colostrum; Calf morbidity; Daily weight gain
Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), including scrapie in sheep, chronic wasting disease (CWD) in cervids, transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME), and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), are fatal diseases of the nervous system associated with accumulation of misfolded prion protein (PrPSc). Different strains of TSEs exist, associated with different PrPSc conformations that can be probed by the stability assay, in which PrPSc is treated with increasing concentrations of the denaturant guanidine hydrochloride (GdnHCl).
Here, we provide the first comprehensive application of a rapid, protease-free version of the GdnHCl stability assay to brain tissue from cattle experimentally infected with various TSE isolates. Consistent with previous findings from a single Japanese isolate, the L-type isolates of BSE are not distinguishable from classical BSE in this assay. In contrast, H-type isolates of BSE, including our unique isolate of E211K BSE, exhibit higher stability than classical BSE, suggesting that its increased protection against protease digestion at the BSE N-terminus is associated with a higher stability in GdnHCl. While the difference in stability in our version of the assay is likely not large enough for effective use in a diagnostic laboratory setting, the use of alternative experimental conditions may enhance this effect. TSEs from other natural host species that have been passaged in cattle, including CWD and TME, were not distinguishable from classical BSE, while isolates of cattle passaged scrapie exhibited a slight increase in stability as compared to classical BSE.
These results suggest that the core of PrPSc, as probed in this assay, has similar stability properties among cattle-passaged TSE isolates and that the conformational differences that lead to changes in the proteinase K cleavage site do not cause large changes in the stability of PrPSc from TSE-affected cattle. However, the stability differences observed here will provide a basis of comparison for new isolates of atypical BSE observed in the future and in other geographic locations, especially in the case of H-type BSE.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy; BSE; ELISA; Prion; PrP; Scrapie; Stability; Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy; TSE
In 2006, bluetongue virus serotype 8 (BTV-8) was detected for the first time in central Europe. Measures to control the infection in livestock were implemented in Switzerland but the question was raised whether free-ranging wildlife could be a maintenance host for BTV-8. Furthermore Toggenburg orbivirus (TOV), considered as a potential 25th BTV serotype, was detected in 2007 in domestic goats in Switzerland and wild ruminants were considered a potential source of infection. To assess prevalences of BTV-8 and TOV infections in wildlife, we conducted a serological and virological survey in red deer, roe deer, Alpine chamois and Alpine ibex between 2009 and 2011. Because samples originating from wildlife carcasses are often of poor quality, we also documented the influence of hemolysis on test results, and evaluated the usefulness of confirmatory tests.
Ten out of 1,898 animals (0.5%, 95% confidence interval 0.3-1.0%) had detectable antibodies against BTV-8 and BTV-8 RNA was found in two chamois and one roe deer (0.3%, 0.1-0.8%). Seroprevalence was highest among red deer, and the majority of positive wild animals were sampled close to areas where outbreaks had been reported in livestock. Most samples were hemolytic and the range of the optical density percentage values obtained in the screening test increased with increasing hemolysis. Confirmatory tests significantly increased specificity of the testing procedure and proved to be applicable even on poor quality samples. Nearly all samples confirmed as positive had an optical density percentage value greater than 50% in the ELISA screening.
Prevalence of BTV-8 infection was low, and none of the tested animals were positive for TOV. Currently, wild ruminants are apparently not a reservoir for these viruses in Switzerland. However, we report for the first time BTV-8 RNA in Alpine chamois. This animal was found at high altitude and far from a domestic outbreak, which suggests that the virus could spread into/through the Alps. Regarding testing procedures, hemolysis did not significantly affect test results but confirmatory tests proved to be necessary to obtain reliable prevalence estimates. The cut-off value recommended by the manufacturer for the screening test was applicable for wildlife samples.
Bluetongue virus; Cross-sectional study; Hemolysis; Switzerland; Toggenburg orbivirus; Wildlife samples
Bovine tuberculosis (BTB) and bovine brucellosis are two important milk-borne zoonoses that have been shown to be prevalent to various degrees in Ethiopian cattle.
The study was carried out in four Woredas (districts) around Asella town, Arsi Zone between October 2011 and March 2012 and included 318 small-holders in 13 dairy cooperatives that marketed the delivered milk. The aims of the study were i) to assess the prevalence of the two diseases in cattle in a cross-sectional study, ii) to assess potential risk factors of BTB and brucellosis to humans as well as the knowledge-attitude-practice (KAP) among these farmers towards these diseases.
BTB testing using the comparative intradermal skin test (CIDT) was done on 584 milking cows, out of which 417 were serologically tested for brucellosis using the Rose Bengal Plate Test and reactors confirmed with an indirect ELISA test (PrioCHECK®). The individual animal prevalence was 0.3% (95% CI 0.1% to 1.3%) for BTB, 1.7% (95% CI 0.8% to 3.5%) for brucellosis and 8.9% (95% CI 6.8% to 11.5%) for MAC (Mycobacterium avium complex). Of the 13 milk cooperatives, two had at least one positive BTB reactor and five had animals positive for brucellosis.
Cross-breeds accounted for 100% and 71.4% of the BTB and brucellosis reactors respectively. For both diseases, there were prevalence variations depending on Woreda. No animal was concomitant reactor for BTB and brucellosis.
Raw milk was consumed by 55.4% of the respondents. 79.2% of the respondents reported touching the afterbirth with bare hands. The latter was fed to dogs in 83% of the households. One cow among the herds of the 130 interviewees had aborted in the last 12 months. Among the interviewees, 77% stated knowing tuberculosis in general but 42 out of the 130 respondents (32.3%) did not know that BTB was transmitted by livestock. Less than half (47.7%) of the respondents knew about brucellosis.
Low prevalence of both diseases reflected the potential for the area to compete with the growing milk demand. The authors discussed the possible control strategies for the area.
Bovine brucellosis; Bovine tuberculosis; Cattle; Milk cooperatives; Disease prevalence; Ethiopia
Chicken anemia virus (CAV) is an important viral pathogen that causes anemia and severe immunodeficiency syndrome in chickens worldwide. Generally, CAV infection occurs via vertical transmission in young chicks that are less than two weeks old, which are very susceptible to the disease. Therefore, epidemiological investigations of CAV infection and/or the evaluation of the immunization status of chickens is necessary for disease control. Up to the present, systematically assessing viral protein antigenicity and/or determining the immunorelevant domain(s) of viral proteins during serological testing for CAV infection has never been performed. The expression, production and antigenic characterization of CAV viral proteins such as VP1, VP2 and VP3, and their use in the development of diagnostic kit would be useful for CAV infection prevention.
Three CAV viral proteins VP1, VP2 and VP3 was separately cloned and expressed in recombinant E. coli. The purified recombinant CAV VP1, VP2 and VP3 proteins were then used as antigens in order to evaluate their reactivity against chicken sera using indirect ELISA. The results indicated that VP2 and VP3 show good immunoreactivity with CAV-positive chicken sera, whereas VP1 was found to show less immunoreactivity than VP2 and VP3. To carry out the further antigenic characterization of the immunorelevant domains of the VP2 and VP3 proteins, five recombinant VP2 subunit proteins (VP2-435N, VP2-396N, VP2-345N, VP2-171C and VP2-318C) and three recombinant VP3 subunit proteins (VP3-123N, VP3-246M, VP3-366C), spanning the defined regions of VP2 and VP3 were separately produced by an E. coli expression system. These peptides were then used as antigens in indirect ELISAs against chicken sera. The results of these ELISAs using truncated recombinant VP2 and VP3 subunit proteins as coating antigen showed that VP2-345N, VP2-396N and VP3-246M gave good immunoreactivity with CAV-positive chicken sera compared to the other subunit proteins. Moreover, the VP2-396N and VP2-345 based ELISAs had better sensitivity (97.5%) and excellent specificity (100%) during serodiagnosis testing using a mean plus three standard deviations cut-off. The VP3-246M based ELISA showed a sensitivity of 85% and a specificity of 100% at the same cut-off value.
This is the first report to systematically assess the antigenic characteristics of CAV viral proteins for sero-diagnosis purposes. Purified recombinant VP2-396N and VP2-345N subunit proteins, which span defined regions of VP2, were demonstrated to have good antigenicity and higher sensitivities than VP3-246M and were able to recognize CAV-positive chicken serum using an ELISA assay. The defined antigenicity potential of these chimeric subunit proteins produced by expression in E. coli seem to have potential and could be useful in the future for the development of the CAV diagnostic tests based on a subunit protein ELISA system.
The purpose of this study was to determine intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM) and oral (PO) FM PK in mature swine. Appropriate pain management for lameness in swine is a critical control point for veterinarians and producers, but science-based guidance on optimal housing, management and treatment of lameness is deficient. Six mature swine (121–168 kg) were administered an IV, IM, or PO dose of flunixin meglumine at a target dose of 2.2 mg/kg in a cross-over design with a 10 day washout period between treatments. Plasma samples collected up to 48 hours post-administration were analyzed by high pressure liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) followed by non-compartmental pharmacokinetic analysis.
No adverse effects were observed with flunixin meglumine administration for all routes. Flunixin meglumine was administered at an actual mean dose of 2.21 mg/kg (range: 2.05-2.48 mg/kg) IV, IM and PO. A mean peak plasma concentration (CMAX) for IM and PO administration was 3748 ng/ml (range: 2749–6004 ng/ml) and 946 ng/ml (range: 554–1593 ng/ml), respectively. TMAX was recorded at 1.00 hour (range: 0.50-2.00 hours) and 0.61 hours (range: 0.17-2.00 hours) after PO and IM administration. Half-life (T ½ λz) for IV, IM and PO administration was 6.29 hours (range: 4.84-8.34 hours), 7.49 hours (range: 5.55-12.98 hours) and 7.08 hours (range: 5.29-9.15 hours) respectively. In comparison, bioavailability (F) for PO administration was 22% (range: 11-44%) compared to IM F at 76% (range: 54-92%).
The results of the present study suggest that FM oral administration is not the most effective administration route for mature swine when compared to IV and IM. Lower F and Cmax of PO-FM in comparison to IM-FM suggest that PO-FM is less likely to be an effective therapeutic administration route.
Swine; Gilt; Lameness; Flunixin meglumine; Pharmacokinetics; NSAIDs; Oral bioavailability
An automated technique for recording eating and rumination behaviour was evaluated in ten lactating Brown Swiss cows by comparing data obtained from a pressure sensor with data obtained via direct observation over a 24-hour period. The recording device involved a pressure sensor integrated in the noseband of a halter. The analysed variables included number and duration of individual rumination, eating and resting phases, total daily length of these phases and number of cuds chewed per day.
Eating and rumination phases were readily differentiated based on characteristic pressure profiles. Chewing movements during rumination were regular and generated regular waveforms with uniform amplitudes, whereas eating generated irregular waveforms with variable amplitudes. There was complete or almost complete agreement and no significant differences between data obtained via direct observation and pressure sensor technique. Both methods yielded an average of 16 daily eating phases with a mean duration of 28.3 minutes. Total time spent eating was 445.0 minutes for direct observation and 445.4 minutes for the pressure sensor technique. Both techniques recorded an average of 13.3 rumination phases with a mean duration of 30.3 (direct observation) and of 30.2 (pressure sensor) minutes. Total time spent ruminating per day, number of cuds per day and chewing cycles per cud were 389.3 and 388.3 minutes, 410.1 and 410.0 and 60.0 and 60.3 for direct observation and pressure sensor technique, respectively. There was a significant difference between the two methods with respect to mean number of chewing cycles per day (24′669, direct observation vs. 24′751, pressure sensor, P < 0.05, paired t-test). There were strong correlations between the two recording methods with correlation coefficients ranging from 0.98 to 1.00.
The results confirmed that measurements of eating and rumination variables obtained via the pressure sensor technique are in excellent agreement with data obtained via direct observation.
Cattle; Eating and rumination behaviour; Automated recording
Previous investigations in newborn lambs determined that adenovirus-mediated expression of antigen to a localized region of the gut induced antigen-specific mucosal and systemic immunity. These experiments were limited in that the localized region of the gut to which antigen was introduced was sterile and the influence of colostrum on the antigen was not assessed but they do suggest that mucosal vaccines may be an effective vaccination strategy to protect neonatal lambs. We propose that persistent oral antigen exposure introduced in extreme early life can induce immunity in lambs, despite the presence of commensal bacteria and colostrum.
To test this hypothesis, conventionally raised newborn lambs (n = 4 per group) were gavaged with ovalbumin (OVA) starting the day after birth for either a single day (2.27 g), every day for 3 days (0.23 g/day), or every day for 3 days then every second day until nine days of age (0.023 g/day). Lambs gavaged with OVA for 3 to 9 days developed significant serum anti-OVA IgG titres (p < 0.05), but not IgA titres, relative to control lambs (n = 4) after 3 and 4 weeks. At 4 weeks of age, lambs were immunized with OVA in Incomplete Freund’s Adjuvant via intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection then lambs were euthanized at 7 weeks. Serum anti-OVA IgG titres were further augmented after i.p. immunization indicating immunity persisted and tolerance was not induced. Serum IgA titres remained low regardless of treatment. It is known that i.p. priming of sheep with antigen in Freund’s complete adjuvant leads to an enhanced number of IgA and IgG antibody containing cells in the respiratory mucosa (Immunology 53(2):375–384, 1984). Lambs gavaged with a single bolus of 2.27 g OVA prior to i.p. immunization showed very low titres of anti-OVA IgA in the lung lavage. These data suggest that a single, high dose exposure to OVA can promote tolerance which impacts response to systemic vaccination in later life. Lambs gavaged with 0.023 g OVA for 9 days (Group C) generated significant anti-OVA IgA titres in lung (p < 0.001) compared to negative control lambs but no additive effect was observed compared to parenteral control lambs. When splenocytes were re-stimulated with OVA ex vivo, all groups failed to show increased lymphocyte proliferation or interferon (IFN)-γ production relative to the parenteral control group.
In agreement with our hypothesis, persistent low dose antigen exposure primes humoral antibody production in serum in conventionally raised newborn lambs. In contrast, a single high dose bolus of antigen triggered oral tolerance which negatively impacted the quality and magnitude of the immune response to i.p. immunization in later life. These tangential responses are important as they indicate that the dose and/or repeated oral exposure to antigen, such as that which may be found in the neonate’s environment, may promote immunity or alternatively it may negatively impact responses to parenteral vaccination.
Lambs; Neonate; Ovalbumin; Mucosal; Oral
Lissencephaly is a rare developmental brain disorder in veterinary and human medicine associated with defects in neuronal migration leading to a characteristic marked reduction or absence of the convolutional pattern of the cerebral hemispheres. In many human cases the disease has a genetic basis. In sheep, brain malformations, mainly cerebellar hypoplasia and forms of hydrocephalus, are frequently due to in utero viral infections. Although breed-related malformations of the brain have been described in sheep, breed-related lissencephaly has not been previously recorded in a peer reviewed publication.
Here we report neuropathological findings in 42 newborn lambs from a pure Churra breed flock, with clinical signs of weakness, inability to walk, difficulty in sucking and muscular rigidity observed immediately after birth. All the lambs showed near-total agyria with only a rudimentary formation of few sulci and gyri, and a severe cerebellar hypoplasia. On coronal section, the cerebral grey matter was markedly thicker than that of age-matched unaffected lambs and the ventricular system was moderately dilated. Histologically, the normal layers of the cerebral cortex were disorganized and, using an immunohistochemical technique against neurofilaments, three layers were identified instead of the six present in normal brains. The hippocampus was also markedly disorganised and the number and size of lobules were reduced in the cerebellum. Heterotopic neurons were present in different areas of the white matter. The remainder of the brain structures appeared normal. The pathological features reported are consistent with the type LCH-b (lissencephaly with cerebellar hypoplasia group b) defined in human medicine. No involvement of pestivirus or bluetongue virus was detected by immunohistochemistry. An analysis of pedigree data was consistent with a monogenic autosomal recessive pattern inheritance.
The study describes the clinical and pathological findings of lissencephaly with cerebellar hypoplasia in Churra lambs for which an autosomal recessive inheritance was the most likely cause. Histopathological features observed in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus are consistent with a possible failure in neuronal migration during brain development. This report suggests that lissencephaly should be considered in the differential diagnosis of congenital neurological disease in newborn lambs showing weakness, inability to walk and difficulty sucking.
Lissencephaly; Cerebellar hypoplasia; Agyria-pachygyria; Sheep; Autosomal recessive
To test the efficacy of the recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator (rt-PA) alteplase in horses, the thrombolytic effect was tested in in vitro generated equine thrombi. The extent of lysis was determined by measuring the decrease in thrombi weight over a period of 4 hours. In vivo pharmacokinetics of alteplase were determined in 6 healthy horses. A single dose (1 mg/kg) was applied via intravenous infusion over a period of 30 minutes Coagulation-related variables, blood count and clinical parameters were taken before the treatment and until 48 h after treatment. In addition, plasma rt-PA concentration was measured until 300 min after commencing the infusion.
In vitro, a dose dependent decrease of thrombus weight ranging from a 56 (± 6.5) % decrease for 0.5 μg/ml to 92 (± 2.1) % decrease for 5 μg/ml rt-PA was noted. The D-dimer concentration in the lysis medium correspondingly increased from 0.10 up to 10.8 mg/l.
In vivo, none of the horses showed an adverse reaction to the alteplase infusion. In some horses blood parameters were slightly altered. The 1 mg/kg dose yielded the following pharmacokinetic parameters: Cmax = 1.25 ± 0.27 μg/ml; CL = 21.46 ± 5.67 ml/min/kg; dominant half life (t1/2α) = 6.81 ± 1.48 minutes; median elimination half life (t1/2β) = 171 min (range: 85–1061); AUC = 50.33 ± 17.62 μg · min /ml.
These findings indicate that a single dose of 1 mg/kg alteplase results in rt-PA plasma concentrations comparable to those in humans and might be sufficient for a thrombolytic therapy in horses. Further studies must be performed to determine the alteplase effectiveness in horses with jugular vein thrombosis.
Alteplase; Recombinant tissue plasminogen activator; Thrombus; Clot formation; Hypercoagulopathy
Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) affect both domestic sheep (scrapie) and captive and free-ranging cervids (chronic wasting disease; CWD). The geographical range of bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis; BHS) overlaps with states or provinces that have contained scrapie-positive sheep or goats and areas with present epizootics of CWD in cervids. No TSEs have been documented in BHS, but the susceptibility of this species to TSEs remains unknown.
We acquired a library of BHS tissues and found no evidence of preexisting TSEs in these animals. The prion protein gene (Prnp) in all BHS in our library was identical to scrapie-susceptible domestic sheep (A136R154Q171 genotype). Using an in vitro prion protein conversion assay, which has been previously used to assess TSE species barriers and, in our study appears to recollect known species barriers in mice, we assessed the potential transmissibility of TSEs to BHS. As expected based upon Prnp genotype, we observed BHS prion protein conversion by classical scrapie agent and evidence for a species barrier between transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) and BHS. Interestingly, our data suggest that the species barrier of BHS to white-tailed deer or wapiti CWD agents is likely low. We also used protein misfolding cyclic amplification to confirm that CWD, but not TME, can template prion protein misfolding in A136R154Q171 genotype sheep.
Our results indicate the in vitro conversion assay used in our study does mimic the species barrier of mice to the TSE agents that we tested. Based on Prnp genotype and results from conversion assays, BHS are likely to be susceptible to infection by classical scrapie. Despite mismatches in amino acids thought to modulate prion protein conversion, our data indicate that A136R154Q171 genotype sheep prion protein is misfolded by CWD agent, suggesting that these animals could be susceptible to CWD. Further investigation of TSE transmissibility to BHS, including animal studies, is warranted. The lack of reported TSEs in BHS may be attributable to other host factors or a lack of TSE surveillance in this species.
Bighorn sheep; Scrapie; Chronic wasting disease; Transmissible mink encephalopathy; Species barrier
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect on outcomes of intraoperative recombinant human interleukin-2 injection after surgical resection of peripheral nerve sheath tumours. In this double-blind trial, 40 patients due to undergo surgical excision (<5 mm margins) of presumed peripheral nerve sheath tumours were randomized to receive intraoperative injection of interleukin-2 or placebo into the wound bed.
There were no significant differences in any variable investigated or in median survival between the two groups. The median recurrence free interval was 874 days (range 48–2141 days), The recurrence-free interval and overall survival time were significantly longer in dogs that undergone the primary surgery by a specialist-certified surgeon compared to a referring veterinarian regardless of whether additional adjunct therapy was given.
Overall, marginal excision of peripheral nerve sheath tumours in dogs resulted in a long survival time, but adjuvant treatment with recombinant human interleukin-2 (rhIL-2) did not provide a survival advantage.
Sarcoma; Dog; rhIL2; PNST; Surgery; Intralesional; Injection
Babesia parasites, mainly Babesia bovis and B. bigemina, are tick-borne hemoparasites inducing bovine babesiosis in cattle globally. The clinical signs of the disease include, among others, anemia, fever and hemoglobinuria. Babesiosis is known to occur in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In this study, we aim to provide information about the occurrence and phylogenetic relationship of B. bigemina and B. bovis species in cattle from different locations in nine provinces of South Africa.
A total of 430 blood samples were randomly collected from apparently healthy cattle. These samples were genetically tested for Babesia parasitic infections using nested PCR assays with species-specific primers.
Nested PCR assays with Group I primer sets revealed that the overall prevalence of B. bigemina and B. bovis in all bovine samples tested was 64.7% (95% CI = 60.0-69.0) and 35.1% (95% CI = 30.6-39.8), respectively. Only 117/430 (27.2%) animals had a mixed infection. The highest prevalence of 87.5% (95% CI = 77.2-93.5) for B. bigemina was recorded in the Free State province collection sites (Ficksburg, Philippolis and Botshabelo), while North West collection sites had the highest number of animals infected with B. bovis (65.5%; 95% CI = 52.7-76.4). Phylograms were inferred based on B. bigemina-specific gp45 and B. bovis-specific rap-1 nucleotide sequences obtained with Group II nested PCR primers. Phylogenetic analysis of gp45 sequences revealed significant differences in the genotypes of B. bigemina isolates investigated, including those of strains published in GenBank. On the other hand, a phylogeny based on B. bovis rap-1 sequences indicated a similar trend of clustering among the sequences of B. bovis isolates investigated in this study.
This study demonstrates the occurrence of Babesia parasites in cattle from different provinces of South Africa. It was also noted that the situation of Babesia parasitic infection in cattle from certain areas within the surveyed provinces had either reached endemic stability or was progressing towards stability.
Cattle; Babesia bigemina; Babesia bovis; South Africa; Nested PCR; Phylogeny
Usutu virus (USUV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus of the Japanese encephalitis virus antigenic group, caused bird die-offs in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland between 2001 and 2009. While the zoological gardens of Vienna and Zurich recorded USUV-associated mortality in different species of birds during this period, incidences in Budapest were limited to areas outside the zoo, and in the greater Basel area avian mortality due to USUV infection was not observed at all. The objectives of this investigation were to gain insight into USUV infection dynamics in captive birds in zoos with varying degrees of virus exposure and to study differences in susceptibility to USUV of different species of birds.
372 bird sera were collected between October 2006 and August 2007. The samples were tested in parallel by hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and 90% plaque reduction neutralization tests (PRNT-90). 8.75%, 5.3% and 6.59% of birds in the zoos of Vienna, Zurich and Basel, respectively, showed USUV-specific antibodies by PRNT-90. No antibodies to USUV were detected in birds of the Budapest zoo. The order Strigiformes (owls) exhibited the highest USUV-seroprevalence, compared to other orders of birds.
USUV seems not to pose an imminent threat to zoo bird populations in central Europe at the moment. Depending on a variety of especially environmental factors, however, this may change at any time in the (near) future, as experienced with West Nile virus (WNV). It is therefore strongly suggested to continue with combined WNV and USUV surveillance activities in affected areas.
A growing body of work shows the benefits of applying social cognitive behavioural theory to investigate infection control and biosecurity practices. Protection motivation theory has been used to predict protective health behaviours. The theory outlines that a perception of a lack of vulnerability to a disease contributes to a reduced threat appraisal, which results in poorer motivation, and is linked to poorer compliance with advised health protective behaviours. This study, conducted following the first-ever outbreak of equine influenza in Australia in 2007, identified factors associated with horse managers’ perceived vulnerability to a future equine influenza outbreak.
Of the 200 respondents, 31.9% perceived themselves to be very vulnerable, 36.6% vulnerable and 31.4% not vulnerable to a future outbreak of equine influenza. Multivariable logistic regression modelling revealed that managers involved in horse racing and those on rural horse premises perceived themselves to have low levels of vulnerability. Managers of horse premises that experienced infection in their horses in 2007 and those seeking infection control information from specific sources reported increased levels of perceived vulnerability to a future outbreak.
Different groups across the horse industry perceived differing levels of vulnerability to a future outbreak. Increased vulnerability contributes to favourable infection control behaviour and hence these findings are important for understanding uptake of recommended infection control measures. Future biosecurity communication strategies should be delivered through information sources suitable for the horse racing and rural sectors.
Equine influenza; Perceived vulnerability; Protection motivation theory; Infection control; Biosecurity; Emergency animal disease
The editors of BMC Veterinary Research would like to thank all our reviewers who have contributed to the journal in Volume 8 (2012).
Prions demonstrate an unusual resistance to methods effective at inactivating conventional microorganisms. This has resulted in a very tangible and difficult infection control challenge to the medical and veterinary communities, as well as animal agriculture and related industries. Currently accepted practices of harsh chemical treatments such as prolonged exposure to sodium hydroxide or sodium hypochlorite, or autoclaving are not suitable in many situations. Less caustic and more readily applicable treatments to contaminated environments are therefore desirable. We recently demonstrated that exposure of the RML scrapie agent to a commercial product containing sodium percarbonate (SPC-P) with or without sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) rendered PrPSc sensitive to proteinase K (PK), but did not eliminate infectivity. The current study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of a combinatorial approach to inactivating prions by exposing RML-positive brain homogenate to SPC-P and SDS followed by PK. Treated samples were evaluated for PrPSc-immunoreactivity by western blot, and residual infectivity by mouse bioassay.
Treatment of infected brain homogenate with SPC-P and SDS followed by PK exposure resulted in a 4–5 log10 reduction in infectivity when bioassayed in tga20 mice.
This study demonstrates that exposure of the RML scrapie agent to SPC-P and SDS followed by PK markedly reduces, but does not eliminate infectivity. The results of this study encourage further investigation into whether consecutive or concomitant exposure to sodium percarbonate, SDS, and a protease may serve as a viable and non-caustic option for prion inactivation.
Inactivation; Prion; Proteinase; Scrapie; Sodium dodecyl sulfate; Sodium percarbonate
In 2010, foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) occurred for the first time in a decade in Japan. Movement or shipment of people and animals around infected farms was restricted; however these contingency measures proved insufficient to prevent FMD spread. Consequently, a total of 292 farms were confirmed as infected during this outbreak. We conducted a case–control study to identify the risk factors associated with FMD transmission between farms during these restrictions. As there was discordance in the control measures taken, risk factors were examined separately for two areas. Analyses were also performed separately for cattle and pig farms given their different infectivity and susceptibility.
For cattle farms in the movement restriction area, the odds of having the factor ‘farm equipment was shared with other farms’ was significantly higher for case farms than for control farms. For cattle farms in the shipment restriction area, the odds of having the factors ‘feed transport vehicles visited the farm’ and ‘staff of livestock-related companies visited the farm’ were significantly higher on case farms than control farms. In pig farms in the movement restriction area, the odds of having factor ‘farm staff commuted from outside’ was 20 times higher for case farms than control farms. In addition, case farms were less likely to have the factors ‘fattening farm’ and ‘barn has physical barriers’ compared with control farms.
In the movement restriction area, the disease was likely to spread regardless of the movement of people and vehicles, and physical barriers were found to be a protective factor. Therefore, physical barriers from the surrounding environments seemed to prevent farms from being infected. Conversely, in the shipment restriction area, movement of people and vehicles was strongly associated with disease spread. These results allow a better understanding of the risk factors associated with FMD transmission and are useful to enhance future preventive measures against transmission during FMD outbreaks.
Case–control study; Foot-and-mouth disease; Transmission; Risk factors; Japan
To evaluate the efficiency of platelet-rich plasma preparations by means of a double centrifugation tube method to obtain platelet-rich canine plasma at a concentration at least 4 times higher than the baseline value and a concentration of white blood cells not exceeding twice the reference range. A complete blood count was carried out for each sample and each concentrate. Whole blood samples were collected from 12 clinically healthy dogs (consenting blood donors). Blood was processed by a double centrifugation tube method to obtain platelet concentrates, which were then analyzed by a flow cytometry haematology system for haemogram. Platelet concentration and white blood cell count were determined in all samples.
Platelet concentration at least 4 times higher than the baseline value and a white blood cell count not exceeding twice the reference range were obtained respectively in 10 cases out of 12 (83.3%) and 11 cases out of 12 (91.6%).
This double centrifugation tube method is a relatively simple and inexpensive method for obtaining platelet-rich canine plasma, potentially available for therapeutic use to improve the healing process.
Dog; Double centrifugation; Growth factors; Platelet-rich plasma; Tube method
Dietary supplementation with oligosaccharides has been proven to be beneficial for health in several mammalian species. Next to prebiotic effects resulting in a modulation of gut micro biota, immunomodulatory effects of oligosaccharides have been documented in vivo. Supplementation with defined oligosaccharide fractions has been shown to attenuate allergic responses and enhance defensive immune responses. Despite the accumulating evidence for immunomodulatory effects, very limited information is available regarding the direct mechanism of action of oligosaccharides. This study aims to elucidate the effects of selected oligosaccharide fractions on the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced inflammatory response in equine peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). We investigated three different products containing either galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) alone, a combination of GOS with fructo-oligosaccharides (FOS), and a triple combination of GOS and FOS with acidic oligosaccharides (AOS), at different concentrations. These products have been used in an identical composition in various previously published in vivo experiments. As the selected oligosaccharide fractions were derived from natural products, the fractions contained defined amounts of mono- and disaccharides and minor amounts of endotoxin, which was taken into account in the design of the study and the analysis of data. Acquired data were analysed in a Bayesian hierarchical linear regression model, accounting for variation between horses.
Exposing cultured PBMCs to either GOS or GOS/FOS fractions resulted in a substantial dose-dependent increase of tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) production in LPS challenged PBMCs. In contrast, incubation with GOS/FOS/AOS resulted in a dose-dependent reduction of both TNF-α and interleukin-10 production following LPS challenge. In addition, incubation with GOS/FOS/AOS significantly increased the apparent PBMC viability, indicating a protective or mitogenic effect. Furthermore, mono- and disaccharide control fractions significantly stimulated the inflammatory response in LPS challenged PBMCs as well, though to a lesser extent than GOS and GOS/FOS fractions.
We found distinct immunomodulating effects of the investigated standardised oligosaccharide fractions, which either stimulated or suppressed the LPS induced inflammatory response in PBMCs. Both scenarios require additional investigation, to elucidate underlying modulatory mechanisms, and to translate this knowledge into the clinical application of oligosaccharide supplements in foals and other neonates.
Horse; PBMC; Oligosaccharide; Inflammation; Immunomodulation; GOS; FOS; AOS; Cytokines; Bayesian hierarchical linear regression
Several research applications involving platelets, such as proteomic and transcriptomic analysis, require samples with very low numbers of contaminating leukocytes, which have considerably higher RNA and protein content than platelets. We sought to develop a platelet purification protocol that would minimize contamination, involve minimal centrifugation steps, and yield highly pure platelet samples derived from low volume whole blood samples from healthy dogs.
Using an optimized OptiPrep density gradient technique, platelet recovery was 51.56% with 99.99% platelet purity and leukocyte contamination of 100 leukocytes per 108 platelets, on average. Platelet samples were subjected to additional purification with CD45-labeled Dynabeads after density barrier centrifugation resulting in a 95-fold depletion of residual leukocytes. Platelets purified using these methods remained inactivated as assessed by Annexin V and P-selectin labeling with flow cytometry.
The use of OptiPrep density gradient is a quick method for obtaining highly purified platelet samples from low volumes of canine whole blood with minimal contamination. Additional depletion of residual leukocytes can be achieved using CD45-labeled beads. These platelet samples can then be used for many downstream applications that require ultra-pure platelet samples such as RNA and protein analysis.
Blood; Dog; Leukocyte contamination; Platelet; Purity
A scale validated in one language is not automatically valid in another language or culture. The purpose of this study was to validate the English version of the UNESP-Botucatu multidimensional composite pain scale (MCPS) to assess postoperative pain in cats. The English version was developed using translation, back-translation, and review by individuals with expertise in feline pain management. In sequence, validity and reliability tests were performed.
Of the three domains identified by factor analysis, the internal consistency was excellent for ‘pain expression’ and ‘psychomotor change’ (0.86 and 0.87) but not for ‘physiological variables’ (0.28). Relevant changes in pain scores at clinically distinct time points (e.g., post-surgery, post-analgesic therapy), confirmed the construct validity and responsiveness (Wilcoxon test, p < 0.001). Favorable correlation with the IVAS scores (p < 0.001) and moderate to very good agreement between blinded observers and ‘gold standard’ evaluations, supported criterion validity. The cut-off point for rescue analgesia was > 7 (range 0–30 points) with 96.5% sensitivity and 99.5% specificity.
The English version of the UNESP-Botucatu-MCPS is a valid, reliable and responsive instrument for assessing acute pain in cats undergoing ovariohysterectomy, when used by anesthesiologists or anesthesia technicians. The cut-off point for rescue analgesia provides an additional tool for guiding analgesic therapy.
Cats; Validation; Scale; Pain; Postoperative; Ovariohysterectomy; Validity; Reliability; Responsiveness
Premedication is rarely used in avian species. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of premedication on the quality of sevoflurane induction and anaesthesia in parrots. We hypothesised that premedication would facilitate handling and decrease the minimum anaesthetic dose (MAD). Thirty-six adult parrots were randomly distributed in three groups: group S (n = 12) was premedicated with NaCl 0.9%; group KS (n = 12) was premedicated with 10 mg.kg-1 ketamine; and group KDS (n = 12) was premedicated with 10 mg.kg-1 ketamine and 0.5 mg.kg-1 diazepam, delivered intramuscularly. After induction using 4.5% sevoflurane introduced through a facemask, the MAD was determined for each animal. The heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), systolic arterial blood pressure (SAP), and cloacal temperature (CT) were recorded before premedication (T0), 15 minutes after premedication (T1), and after MAD determination (T2). Arterial blood gas analyses were performed at T0 and T2. The quality of anaesthesia was evaluated using subjective scales based on animal behaviour and handling during induction, maintenance, and recovery. Statistical analyses were performed using analysis of variance or Kruskal-Wallis tests followed by Tukey’s or Dunn’s tests.
The minimal anaesthetic doses obtained were 2.4 ± 0.37%, 1.7 ± 0.39%, and 1.3 ± 0.32% for groups S, KS, and KDS, respectively. There were no differences in HR, RR, or CT among groups, but SAP was significantly lower in group S. Sedation was observed in both the premedicated S-KS and S-KDS groups. There were no differences in the quality of intubation and recovery from anaesthesia among the three groups, although the induction time was significantly shorter in the pre-medicated groups, and the KS group showed less muscle relaxation.
Ketamine alone or the ketamine/diazepam combination decreased the MAD of sevoflurane in parrots (Amazona aestiva). Ketamine alone or in combination with diazepam promoted a good quality of sedation, which improved handling and reduced the stress of the birds. All protocols provided safe anaesthesia in this avian species.
Sevoflurane; Ketamine; Diazepam; Parrots
The harbour porpoise is exposed to increasing pressure caused by anthropogenic activities in its marine environment. Numerous offshore wind farms are planned or under construction in the North and Baltic Seas, which will increase underwater noise during both construction and operation. A better understanding of how anthropogenic impacts affect the behaviour, health, endocrinology, immunology and physiology of the animals is thus needed. The present study compares levels of stress hormones and mRNA expression of cytokines and acute-phase proteins in blood samples of harbour porpoises exposed to different levels of stress during handling, in rehabilitation or permanent human care.
Free-ranging harbour porpoises, incidentally caught in pound nets in Denmark, were compared to harbour porpoises in rehabilitation at SOS Dolfijn in Harderwijk, the Netherlands, and individuals permanently kept in human care in the Dolfinarium Harderwijk and Fjord & Belt Kerteminde, Denmark. Blood samples were investigated for catecholamines, adrenaline, noradrenaline and dopamine, as well as for adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), cortisol, metanephrine and normetanephrine. mRNA expression levels of relevant cell mediators (cytokines IL-10 and TNFα, acute-phase proteins haptoglobin and C-reactive protein and the heat shock protein HSP70) were measured using real-time PCR.
Biomarker expression levels varied between free-ranging animals and porpoises in human care. Hormone and cytokine ranges showed correlations to each other and to the health status of investigated harbour porpoises. Hormone concentrations were higher in free-ranging harbour porpoises than in animals in human care. Adrenaline can be used as a parameter for the initial reaction to acute stress situations; noradrenaline, dopamine, ACTH and cortisol are more likely indicators for the following minutes of acute stress. There is evidence for different correlations between production of normetanephrine, metanephrine, cortisol and the expression of IL-10, HSP70 and haptoglobin.
The expression patterns of the selected molecular biomarkers of the immune system are promising to reflect the health and immune status of the harbour porpoise under different levels of stress.
Harbour porpoise; Stress hormones; Cytokines; Anthropogenic impact; Offshore wind farms; Underwater noise